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M1 Start Phase 3 With 3-2 Home Win Over Oxted


12th March 2023

By Colin Pike

Surbiton Men are second in Pool B in the League Finals after a 3-2 home victory over Oxted on Sunday afternoon.

Wimbledon beat Reading 5-0 on Saturday night and at half time on Sunday, Surbiton seemed to heading in the same direction with a 3-0 lead, but Oxted fought back with two quick goals in the fourth quarter to ultimately go down to a narrow defeat.

Oxted had qualified for the league finals by finishing top of the Lower Six and back in October had lost 5-1 at Sugden Road in the first Phase of the season.

Surbiton forced a penalty corner in the second minute but visiting goalkeeper, Sam Williams made a double save, first from Luke Taylor and then Brendan Creed at the left post.

Brad Sherwood helped ease the pressure in the seventh minute with a calm and collected clearance and Williams came to the fore again to deny Ben Park after a long pass penetrated the Oxted defence.

Surbiton took the lead in the 14th minute, Rob Farrington's shot towards goal touched past Williams by David Goodfield in the circle.

In the second quarter, Nick Park was tackled after a run by Matthew Crookshanks before Goodfield struck again in the 25th minute to double Surbiton's lead.

And two minutes before half time, there was a Williams battle as Alex of Surbiton scored against Sam of Oxted to put the hosts in what appeared to be a comfortable and commanding position.

Oxted held firm in the third quarter with Nick Park stopped by Chris Porter and Goodfield shooting over the bar in sight of a hat-trick after Tom Sorsby set up the scoring chance.

Cameron Heald defended well against Ben Park and Surbiton were frustrated as Tim Nurse ran towards Oxted's baseline before his cross from the right eluded both Alex Williams and Rob Farrington. Sam Williams also saved from Stuart Rushmere before the third quarter ended with Surbiton in the mood to score more goals.

Instead Oxted found themselves back in the match with two quick goals in the 56th and 58th minutes, Sherwood pulling a goal back before former Surbiton player Rob Mugridge gave Oxted even more hope.

Oxted seemed to have found some extra confidence that they could force what had seemed at half time to be an unlikely shootout scenario by finding an equaliser.

Surbiton should have put the game to bed with Adam Buckle failing to score at the left post in the 63rd minute and Alex Williams doing the same two minutes later as the ball failed to fall for either of them.

Sam Williams again denied Goodfield his hat-trick with three minutes left before Oxted were given an unexpected boost when Sorsby received a yellow card three minutes from time following an early green card, but Oxted's advantage was wiped out a minute later when Aiden Fraser received a green card for a foul on Alex Williams, enabling Surbiton to see out time.

Next Saturday, Surbiton visit Reading (push back 5.30 pm). Surbiton won 4-0 on their last visit to Berkshire, last weekend.

In Pool A, Holcombe and Hampstead & Westminster came close to participating in the first shootout of the League Finals, but Nick Bandurak gave Holcombe a 1-0 win in the 58th minute. Old Georgians are top after their 4-1 victory over Beeston on Saturday night.

In the relegation playoffs, already relegated Brooklands Manchester University lost 5-0 at East Grinstead, Fin Boothroyd and Charlie Taylor each scoring twice with Luke Mobley also on target.

The University of Exeter could be favourites to join Brooklands in Division One next season after a 4-2 home defeat to the University of Nottingham. Jacob Payton opened the scoring for Exeter but Charlie Axford, Isaac Farrant, Edward Brice and Will Porter gave Nottingham a 4-1 lead before Billy Collins' last minute penalty corner conversion.

Nottingham now have a two point lead over Exeter with two games remaining whilst East Grinstead's victory preserves their top-flight status. Exeter host Brooklands and Nottingham are at home to East Grinstead next Saturday.